Intramolecular and Lattice Melting in n-Alkane Monolayers: An Analog of Melting in Lipid Bilayers
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Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and neutron diffraction experiments have been performed on n-dotriacontane ( n-C32D66) monolayers adsorbed on a graphite basal- plane surface. The diffraction experiments show little change in the crystalline monolayer structure up to a temperature of ∼350K above which a large thermal expansion and decrease in coherence length occurs. The MD simulations provide evidence that this behavior is due to a phase transition in the monolayer in which intramolecular and translational order are lost simultaneously. This melting transition is qualitatively similar to the gel-to-fluid transition found in bilayer lipid membranes.
Phys. Rev. Lett. 83, 2362-2365 (1999)